COUNTDOWN TO PICK 5: PROSPECT ROUNDTABLEA conversation with Adam Larsson and Ryan Murphy

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6:00 pm: Point Blank spoke with a pair of prospects on the eve of the draft: No. 1 defenseman Adam Larsson of the Swedish Elite League and elite defenseman Ryan Murphy of OHL Kitchener. Here is the transcript of our discussion:

As hockey players, what do you think you do best?

Larsson: My hockey sense, I would say. I seem to know where to be at the right time, and I’m confident I know how to make the right play on defense and offense.

Murphy: My skating is my best asset. It enables me to get to where I need to go and make the play in all zones.

Before you play your first NHL game, what aspect of your play would you most like to improve?

Larsson: My shot needs to get better. I practice it almost every day, including the offseason. It’s getting there. It should be ready for the NHL.

Murphy: There are no perfect players, so there are always areas I will work on. I continue to work hard on my defensive zone coverage.

Do you believe you could play in the NHL this October?

Murphy: I’m a confident person, so I have no problem saying yes. But if my NHL team decided it would be best for me to play another year in the Ontario League, I would accept that and just come back a year older, wiser and better.

Larsson: I am ready.

Yes, but the big question surrounding you, Adam, is will you come to the NHL this season instead of playing one more year back home in Sweden?

Larsson: After two years in the Swedish League playing against many great pros, I’m ready for another challenge. If the NHL team didn’t think I was ready after training camp, I would go back to Sweden for one more season. But the NHL is my dream and I’m determined to make the club that draft me this season.

Did you guys meet with the New Jersey Devils?

Larsson: Yes. At the combine and then some extra testing with New Jersey around the combine. That’s how they do it, as far as I’ve been told. That’s a great organization.

Murphy: Same with me. They spent a lot of time with me on testing. It was a great experience.

Did you meet with the Islanders in New York?

Larsson: No. Just at the combine. Great meeting. Nothing too crazy. Nice guys.

Murphy: Yes. I know the rink is old, but I loved it. Incredible tradition on Long Island. Nice place to live. I also met with them at the combine and had already taken their test.

Ryan, which member of Islanders management did you spend the most time with in New York?

Murphy: I only saw Garth Snow briefly. The man who spoke to me the most was (scout) Trent Klatt. He seemed to be the leader with prospect stuff. I really enjoyed the visit there.

How many other teams did you meet with one-on-one beyond the confines of the brief sessions at the combine?

Larsson: Three – Edmonton, Colorado and New Jersey.

Murphy: I visited the Islanders and Boston, plus five other teams came to Ontario to spend extra time with me. I also took a lot of tests for teams like the ones I took for the Islanders.

Just for fun, what’s your favorite movie?

Murphy: Miracle

Larsson: Unknown

Favorite music?

Murphy: Rap. Kid Cudi is my favorite.

Larsson: Justin Bieber (Editor’s note: I don’t know Adam well enough to know if he was only kidding, but I do not think he was kidding. Perhaps the Devils’ or Islanders’ PR staffs will be able to clarify this in about 24 hours).

Any idea what team is going to draft you?

Murphy: Not sure, but I think it will be in the top ten. I’ve got it narrowed down to a few teams, including the Islanders and Bruins, I think.

Larsson (laughing): You would think I would know by now, but I have no idea. It’s exciting. I will know soon enough. I’ll be proud to join any team that selects me.

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